Student: "My mom is 28 years old."
Teacher: "How old are you?"
Teacher: "So, your mother had you when she was thirteen?"
Student: "Wow! You can do that in your head that fast?"
Teacher: "Uh, well, uh, don't worry about it. That's why I'm a math teacher!"
And his student went away happy, self-esteem reassured by knowing that only nerdy math teachers can quickly subtract 15 from 28.
Meanwhile, America's Great and Good carry on making plans for America's schools based on assumptions that wouldn't survive an hour in an average classroom. (Not that they would ever send their kids to a typical school.)
The Aspen Institute's bipartisan Commission on No Child Left Behind, co-chaired by former governors Tommy Thompson and Roy E. Barnes and paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (among others), has just issued 75 recommendations for improving the NCLB legislation when it comes up for renewal by Congress this year.
Despite the many small reforms advocated in the Commission's report "Beyond NCLB: Fulfilling the Promise to Our Nation’s Children" (222 page PDF), not one word of criticism is uttered against the original legislation's most important and implausible requirement: "that all children should reach a proficient level of academic achievement by 2014" in math and reading. The report declares this goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014 to be "audacious … morally right … and attainable."
What they don't mention about this demand: It's nuts. [More]